When I was a little girl, I used to write stories. I’d staple pieces of notebook paper together and go to town. The first story I ever wrote that I can remember was about a lonely girl who made a friend and they walked to Wendy’s together. I guess even back then I wrote what I knew.
I’ve spoken before of losing my writing. I’d tried in the past, but I hadn’t written a full story since high school. I remember the last short story I wrote during that time. It was for an lit assignment, and I had so many people’s hands in the editing that it completely changed the story from something that I wanted, to something I was completely lukewarm about. Maybe that was the beginning of the end.
I took a creative writing course while I was (briefly) at Ball State. I mainly dealt in poetry. That never felt quite ‘right’ to me. That wasn’t my medium. I did well in it, I’ve even won an award for a poem years ago, but it just never sat right with me.
When the urge to write came back, I’d never been so happy. It felt freeing, it felt right. For the first time I felt like I was doing what I need to do. In my professional day job, I’ve always been known as a writer. You need a manual written for users? Call Lisette. You need to make sure there is documentation for a process is written so non-technical people can do the process? Lisette is your girl. However that was mindless, easy stuff. Follow the line, write the words. Writing Seonghun and Liah’s journey has felt right. For the first time I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Anyone that knows me knows that my ascent into technology was a financial choice. When I went back to school I was determined to make a better life for myself than I had grown up with. I wanted children. I wanted them to have everything I never had. I never wanted to worry about money. I’m technically savvy, it was a smart choice that paid off in spades. I’m a homeowner, I owned my first home before I was out of my twenties, which was unusual in my family. I have a decent car that (normally) gets traded in every four years or so for something newer (Covid has made car buying a little weird, so I’m holding off on my next trade) I take vacations, I don’t worry about the price of things mostly. Technology has made my life what I wanted it to be.
But it has also made me miserable.
A long time ago in a massive argument with my mother, I’d gotten fired from a job. She was screaming at me about how I comported myself at work. Back in the day I was a hot fucking mess when it came to jobs. I was always late, frequently flighty, just not a great worker. Part of this was I had an undiagnosed disability that has now been diagnosed and is treated. The other part was that I was miserable in all my jobs. As she screamed at me I tried to explain to her how awful it was for me, I’ll never forget what she yelled at me.
“We’re all miserable in our jobs! You think it’s a party for me to see people die!?”
At the time I was entirely too young to even know how to respond to something like that. I’m no contact with my mother, however, the entire time I was in school, she was in school for nursing. She’s an NP. I need you to think about the amount of schooling it takes to be a nurse practicioner. Why would you go to school for one hundred years for a career that makes you miserable? If she said something like this to me now, here’s what I would say:
“I think people who pursue nursing as a passion enjoy being the one to help patients and their family transition to a new stage of their life. They realize while it is sad, that person is no longer suffering. It may not be a party as you say, but it’s an uplifting moment from them.”
She’d then pick another fight about something, because that is what narcissists do. But we aren’t here to talk about that.
I love writing. I love being a writer. I love reading reviews whether they are good or bad, because it makes me a better writer. It makes me happy. It truly isn’t work. It also pays peanuts.
I traded my happiness for the almighty dollar.
I know there are poor people that follow their low paying dreams, never worrying about the cost, or income. It couldn’t be me, no shade to them. I grew up in a decidedly middle class area being the furthest thing from middle class. I didn’t like the way it felt. I didn’t like having to get Christmas gifts from the Salvation Army (one of the reasons I’ll never support the Salvation Army other than their homophobic views is that for a “Christmas present” they gifted an eleven year old girl a box of diet pills and sweatpants that were too small), paying for things with booklets of food stamps, and other things.
Now that we are financially secure, my husband offered that I could quit my job and write full time. I can’t do it. I make entirely too much money, worked too hard to get this far in my career to do that. I barely make any money writing yet. I can’t do it.
But I wish I could.
Right now I’m taking a small break from writing. My writing voice feels weird, not like myself. My publisher suggested I take a month off from writing, then come back to it and see how I feel. This isn’t a hardship as I have enough stories written to publish well into 2025. It feels wrong though. I started writing in 2020 and hadn’t stopped until this point.
I just wish my writing was as successful and as well paid as my technology career. I wish I could wake up, leisurely make a cup of coffee, fill my water bottle, pet my dog, and spend the day writing and editing while taking periodic breaks to shower, read, or do whatever it is I want to do.
Instead an alarm jars me awake and I struggle to get through my morning routine before rushing out the door to make it to a thankless job on time.
Maybe one day my dreams come true. Today isn’t that day though.